Friday, June 28, 2013
Doug Keyes: Collective Memory
Doug Keyes, Karl Blossfeldt - Photography, 1998
I have loved Doug Keyes' photographs of books since I first encountered them at Rudolph Poissant Gallery in Houston, Texas thirteen years ago. It is not only the subject matter but the content that arises from the technique of exposing many pages of the same book on a single piece of film. The ghostly images are recognizable when they stem from art history though works of fiction are more difficult to decipher. His technique resembles a flip book frozen in time. The pages he chooses reflect his experiences and memories with each publication though I like to think he paused in the same places I do in monographs like Christian Boltanski or Sugimoto.
I scanned Keyes' exhibition announcement from Rudolph Poissant Gallery which featured Karl Blossfeldt - Photography (above) and showed it to many of my introductory photography classes since 2000. I was thrilled when his book Collective Memory was published in 2008 and finally it moved to the top of my interlibrary loan check out list (a few years late).
It's one of those publications that is infinitely seen better in person as the bindings of the books he photographs are often are aligned with the center of his book (and therefore difficult to represent here). Here are three of my favorites:
Doug Keyes, Another Water - Roni Horn, 2001
Doug Keyes, Becher - Water Towers, 1997
My attempt at photographing They Called Her Styrene - Ed Ruscha from Doug Keyes, Collective Memory on a sunny day in the front driveway. Needless to say this image should have been included in the Gagosian exhibition Ed Ruscha: Books and Co. last spring.